Reality Check India

Karnataka Anti Superstitious practices Bill Draft 2013 – Copy in Text

Also see “concept note”  https://realitycheck.wordpress.com/karnataka-anti-superstition-concept-note-copy/

 

The KarnaTaKa PrevenTion of SuPerSTiTiouS PracTiceS Bill, 2013

Prepared by theCENTRE FOR THE STUDY OF SOCIAL EXCLUSIONandINCLUSIVE POLICY

NATIONAL LAw SCHOOL OF INDIA UNIVERSITYBANgALORE

The Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013Policy Framework and Model Legislation

Submitted toSri. Siddaramaiah,  Hon’ble Chief Minister of KarnatakaIn the presence of Sri. H. Anjaneya, Hon’ble Minister for Social Welfare and Backward Classes and Sri. T. B. Jayachandra, Hon’ble Minister for Law and Animal Husbandry

 

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November 2013.The Content of this book is a result of a series of discussions and consultations held at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), NLSIU.This publication may be reproduced and used, in part or in the whole, without the written permission of the copyright holders but must be duly acknowledged. Due care and diligence has been taken and exercised in the editing and printing of this book. Neither the authors nor the publisher of this book hold any responsibility for any mistakes that may have inadvertently occurred in the publication process. For further information and copies please contact:Centre for the Study Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), National Law School of India University, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore – 560 242. Telephone: (080) 23160531/28/32. Email: csse@nls.ac.in

 

3AcknowledgementsWe acknowledge with grateful thanks the contributions, efforts and support of the following persons in preparing this document.Draft legislation:Dr. S. Japhet (coordinator); Mr. Nitin Ramesh, Advocate; Mr. Arghya Sengupta and Mr. Alok Prasanna, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi;  Ms. Srijoni Sen, Faculty, NLSIU; Ms. Sanhita Ambast, Mr. K. Arkesh, Former IGP, Central Reserve Police Force anthropologist and Dr. K.V. Ravindranath Tagore, Former DGP (Addl.).Concept note:Dr. G.Ramakrishna, Editor, Hosatu Monthly;  Dr. K. Marulasiddappa, Professor (retd), Department of Kannada Studies, Bangalore University; Dr. Siddalingaiah,  Chair, Dr Ambedkar Study Centre, Bangalore University; Dr. Aravind Malagatti, Professor, Institute of Kannada Studies, University of Mysore;  Dr. M.N.Keshava Rao, Director, Grade Scientist, CSIR, Government of India; Prof. A.S.Nataraj, Social Activist and President, Akhila Karnataka Vicharavaadigala Sangha, Bangalore; Dr. G.S. Vishwanath, Director of Health Services (Retd), Government of Karnataka;  Dr. C.S. Hanumanthappa, Surgeon and President, Society of Brainism, Bangalore; Prof. Nagaragere Ramesh, Peoples’ Democratic Forum, Bangalore, Mr. Shivasundar, Social Activist and Journalist;  Dr.Vasundara Bhupathi, Chair, Karnataka Mahila Lekhakiyara Sangha, Bangalore; Ms. K.S. Vimala, State Vice President, All India Janawadi Mahila Sanghatane, Bangalore; Dr. Mallika Ghanti, Professor of Kannada, Vijayanagara University, Bellary; Dr. B.T.Lalitha Nayak, Writer, Former Legislator; Dr. C.S.Dwarakanath, Advocate and Former Chair, Permanent Backward Class Commission; Prof. Nagari Babaiah, Peoples’ Democratic Forum, Bangalore; Mr. Agrahara Krishnamurty, writer; Vaddagere Nagarajaiah, writer, Lecturer in English;  Dr. V.P. Niranjanarandhya, Educationist,  Dr. Bala Gurumurthy,

 

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Assistant Professor, CSSEIP; Dr. V.S.Sreedhara, Associate Director, CSSEIP and Dr. S.Japhet, Director, CSSEIPConcept note endorsed by: M/S. Prof. Haragopal, Visiting Faculty, NLSIU,  Devanura Mahadeva,Prof. Baraguru Ramachandrappa; Dr. Narendra Nayak; Prof. Hi.Chi. Boralingaiah; Dr.Rajendra Chenni; Prof. Chandrashekara Patil; Dr. H.S.Raghavendra Rao; G.Rajashekar, Prof. K.Phaniraj, A.K.Subbaiah; Prof. S.G.Siddaraaiah; Prof. G.K.Govinda Rao; Gauri Lankesh; Banu Mushtaaq; Sara Abbubeqr; Indira Krishnappa; Du. Saraswathi; Dr. H.S. Anupama; Dr. M.S. Ashadevi; Dr. L.Hanumanthaiah; Dr. Vasu Malali; Dr. Nataraj Huliyar; Dr. Mogalli Ganesh; Dr. Muzafar Azadi; Indudara Honnapura; Ramzan Darga; Shivaji Ganeshan, Dr. Banjagere Jayaprakash; Agni Sridhar; Prof. K.B.Siddaiah; Prof. Abdul Aziz; Kotaganahalli Ramaiah; Prof. B.Gangadhara Murthy; Mavalli Shankar; D.S.Nagabhushan; M. Venkata Swamy; Lolaksha; Prof. N.V.Narasimhaiah; Laxminarayana Nagavara; Janardhan (janni); Mangaluru Vijaya; Dr.Rahamath Tarikere; Shudra Srinivas; Dr. C.G.Laxmipathi; N.Venkatesh;Laxmipathi Kolar; Dr. Bananduru Kempaiah; Kodihalli Chandrashekar; Prof. H.Govindaiah; Srinivasa Karkala; Prof. Shivaramaiah; Subbu Holeyar; Dr. Chennanna Walikar; M. Abdul Rahaman Pasha; Dr. Dominic; Chelur Venkatesh; Dr. Ranganath Kantana Kunte; K.P.Suresha; Praddep Esteevs; Dr. K.S.Bhagavan; Kiran Kamal Prasad and Vishwanath Swami.  Our special thanks to Mrs. Mukta Dabholkar, Pune for her inputs and Dr. K.S. Geetha, Former Director, Directorate of Translations, Govt. of Karnataka for translating the Legal documents and Prof. Susheela Punita and Smt Bageshree for their help in translating the concept note. We also thank both the print and electronic media for keeping the debate alive, especially Vijaya Karnataka, Prajavani, Deccan Herald and The Hindu for their support.Our thanks are also due to Ms. Sakshi of NLSIU for her support, Smt. Shashikala, for her secretarial assistance, Mr. Nagesh for his timely help and colleagues at CSSEIP for making this report possible.

 

5CONTENTS1. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………72. Draft Legislation …………………………………………………………………………….93. Concept note ……………………………………………………………………………….554. Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………………775. Appendix a. Maharashtra Bill ……………………………………………………………………..82 b. Similar legislations in Karnataka …………………………………………….91

 

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71. Introduction       A disturbingly high number of superstitious practices which cause significant harm and exploitation of common people especially of vulnerable sections of society continue to be perpetuated today across our country and Karnataka in particular.  At the same time there are several forms of superstitious practices, both in urban and rural areas which result in severe financial exploitation and mental agony for victims. Such practices have no place in a civilised society governed by the rule of law. The wide existence of such practices squarely infringes the right to life with dignity guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India and reinforced in several judgments of the Supreme Court. Further, while all persons are entitled to the freedom of conscience or belief, certain superstitious practices negatively impact public order, morality and health. With several recent incidents of this nature coming to light, the specific criminalisation of such practices along with spreading awareness of the ill-effects of superstitious practices of this nature have become imperative. The proposed draft of ‘Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013’ seeks to achieve these objectives.The Honourable Chief Minister of Karnataka, Sri Siddaramaiah, has come forward to enact a Bill to ban superstitious practices in Karnataka following the ordinance passed by Maharashtra Government in the wake of the tragic murder of Dr. Narendra Dabholkar, who fought against the ill effects of blind belief and superstition.Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) most willingly responded to the invitation of the Government of Karnataka  (

) to assist in preparing a policy framework and draft bill in this regard which is also the mandate of the Centre. CSSEIP adopted two approaches to address this task: one to prepare a broad policy framework, and, two to draft a model bill by consolidating the input received on the policy note and legal research. In the first phase, the Centre organised several rounds

 

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of consultations with eminent scholars, academicians, folklorists and legal experts and social activists for more than a month. The draft concept note was circulated among more than two hundred fifty scholars across the State and the same was posted in public domain through print media for discussion and feedback. The inputs and comments were consolidated and a final concept note was prepared. The second phase involved legal experts carrying out background research and drafting the model Bill. The team included NLSIU faculty and eminent alumni trained in the area at internationally reputed universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Columbia.  Thorough research has been undertaken by critically evaluating the constitutional legal validity, domestic legislations and judgements, comparative international laws and conventions regarding the issue of superstitious practices. The report is thus a result of rigorous research and consultations. CSSEIP, a UGC sponsored research centre at NLSIU, is mandated to engage in research and provide policy solutions related to discrimination and exclusion of the marginalied and vulnerable social groups in our society.  We are indeed happy that this endeavour is part of several such activities successfully completed within and outside Karnataka. On behalf of CSSEIP and NLSIU, I would like to thank all those who contributed in the making of this report and supported us.  I would like to specially thank the Government of Karnataka for engaging us in this important task. We look forward to such collaborations concerning the marginalised and disadvantaged social groups in our State. I am grateful to our Vice Chancellor, Prof (Dr) R.Venkata Rao who has helped us in this endeavour, as ever.  Bangalore Dr. S. JaphetNovember 5, 2013  Co-ordinator, drafting committee   Professor & Director, CSSEIP, NLSIU

 

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THE KARNATAKA PREVENTION OF SUPERSTITIOUS PRACTICES BILL, 2013A Billto make special provision for the prevention of superstitious practices that are harmful, exploitative and offensive to human dignity with a view to eradicate them; to establish the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Authority at the state level and Vigilance Committees on Superstitious Practices at the district level to ensure such prevention, extend protection to those who expose the ill-effects of superstitious practices and create awareness regarding such effects; and other matters connected therewith or incidental theretoBe it enacted by the Karnataka Legislature in Sixty-fourth Year of the Republic of India as follows:Chapter I: PreliminaryShort title, Extent and commencement1. (1) This Act may be called the Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Act, 2013.2)  It extends to the whole of the State of Karnataka. 3)   I t shall come into force on such date as the State Government may, by notification appoint. Provided, that different dates may be appointed for different provisions of this Act and any reference in any such provision to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as a reference to the coming into force of that provision.2. Draft Legislation

 

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Definitions2. 1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,a) ‘Authority’ means the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Authority established by Section 9 of the Act;b) ‘Committee’ means the Vigilance Committee on Superstitious Practices under Section 15 of the Act;c) ‘Fund’ means the Prevention of Superstitious Practices Fund established by the State Government under Section 8 of the Act;d) ‘persons’ includes both natural persons and legal persons;e) ‘prescribed’ means prescribed by rules made under this Act; f) ‘propagate’ means advertisement, publication, broadcast or communication of any content in support of superstitious practices;g) ‘regulations’ means the regulations made by the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Authority or regulations made by the Vigilance Committee on Superstitious Practices in each district under this Act, as the context indicates;h) ‘rules’ means the rules made under this Act;i) ‘Schedule’ means the Schedule to this Act;j) ‘superstitious practice’ means any act which:i.  Causes grave physical or mental harm to; orii.  Results in financial or any sexual exploitation of; oriii.  Offends the human dignity of; another person or a group of persons, by invoking a purported supernatural power, with the promise of curing such person or group of persons of disease or affliction or purporting to provide a benefit, or threatening them with adverse consequences; orAny act specified in the Schedule.k)    ‘victim’ means a person who is gravely harmed physically or mentally, exploited financially or sexually, or whose dignity is offended by the commission of a superstitious practice.(2) Words and expressions used but not defined herein, shall have respective meanings as assigned to them in the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

 

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Chapter II:  Prohibition of Superstitious PracticesOffence of committing a superstitious practice3. (1) Any person who promotes, propagates or performs a superstitious practice shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years or with fine which shall not be less than ten thousand rupees but which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or both.(2)  Consent of the victim shall not be a defence under this section.(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, a victim of a superstitious practice shall not be guilty of committing or abetting that practice.Offences by Companies4. (1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company, every person, who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, and was responsible to, the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company shall be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly: Provided that, nothing contained in this sub-section shall render any such person liable to any punishment under this Act if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent commission of such offence.(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1) where an offence under this Act has been committed by a company and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other officer responsible for exercise of proper care or supervision of the company in that respect, such director, manager, secretary or concerned officer shall be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

 

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Explanation – For the purposes of this section – (a) “company” means a body corporate and includes a firm, association of persons or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not; and also includes a trust, whether registered under any law for the time being in force or not. (b) “director” in relation to a firm means a partner in the firm and in relation to a body corporate, an association of persons or body of individuals, means any person controlling the affairs thereof; and in relation to a trust includes the person managing the affairs of the trust.Abetment5. Whoever abets any offence punishable under this Act shall, whether or not the offence abetted is committed, be punishable with the same punishment as is provided for the offence which has been abetted.  Explanation: For the purpose of this Act, ‘abetment’ has the meaning assigned to it in the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860). Offences to be cognizable and non-bailable6. Unless specifically indicated in the Schedule, all offences punishable under this Act shall be cognizable and non-bailable.Jurisdiction to try offences7. No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Magistrate of a First Class shall try any offence punishable under this Act.Prevention of Superstitious Practices Fund8. (1) The State Government shall establish the Prevention of Superstitious Practices Fund to (i) provide relief, compensation and rehabilitation to the victims of superstitious practices;(ii) promote awareness and education on development of scientific temper and the need to prevent superstitious practices;

 

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(iii) undertake such other activities consistent with the provisions of this Act.(2) The procedure and manner of contribution and disbursal of moneys under such Fund shall be in accordance with the rules prescribed in this behalf.(3) Nothing contained in this Section shall derogate from the power of the Court to pass an order to pay compensation under Section 357 of the Code. Chapter III: Karnataka Anti-Superstition AuthorityKarnataka Anti-Superstition Authority9. There shall be an authority known as the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Authority. Composition10. (1)  The Governor shall appoint the Chairperson and Members of the Authority.(2) The Authority shall consist of:i. A retired judge of the High Court of Karnataka, to be appointed on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, Chaiperson;ii. Two eminent persons, who shall be academicians, social workers or legal experts who have special knowledge, experience or expertise in relation to superstitious practices and ill-effects thereof, Members;(3) The Secretary to the Department of Social Welfare shall be the Member-Secretary of the Authority.Term of office and conditions of service11. (1) A person appointed as the Chairperson or Member of the Authority shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he enters such office.(2) The salary, allowances and conditions of service of the Chairperson and Members shall be such as may be prescribed.(3) The Chairperson or Members may by writing under his hand addressed to the Governor resign his office.

 

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Powers and Functions12. It shall be the duty of the Authority to: i. Ensure effective implementation of the provisions of this Act; ii. Collate reports submitted by District Vigilance Committees established under this Act; iii. Oversee the administration of the Prevention of Superstitious Practices Fund set up by Section 8 of this Act; iv. Recommend appropriate measures for the prevention and eradication of superstitious practices in State institutions and by Ministers, officers and employees in their official capacities; v. Scrutinize and audit primary and higher education curricula to further the development of scientific temper and recommend appropriate corrective measures; vi. Facilitate research and studies on the effects of superstitious practices; vii. Perform all other functions ascribed to the District Vigilance Committee in Section 17; viii. Undertake such other functions for the eradication of superstitious practices as are consistent with the objects of this Act.1) Only in exercising the functions conferred on the Authority under this Act, the Authority shall have all the powers of a civil court, while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) in respect of the following matters, namely:-  i. Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; ii. requiring the discovery and production of any document; iii. proof of facts by affidavits; and iv. issuing commissions for examination of facts and documents. v. any other, as may be prescribed

 

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Officers and Employees13. (1) The State Government may appoint such number of officers and other employees it may consider necessary for the discharge of functions of the Authority under this Act.(2) The terms and conditions of office of the officers and other employees of the Authority appointed under sub-section (1) shall be such as may be prescribed. Meetings and Procedures14. (1) The Authority may meet at such time and place as the Chairperson may decide (2) The Authority shall have the power to specify, by regulations, the procedure for the discharge of its functions under the Act. Chapter IV: Vigilance Committee on Superstitious PracticesVigilance Committees15. There shall be a Vigilance Committee on Superstitious Practices in each district, to be constituted by the State government by notification in the Official Gazette, for a term of three years.Composition16. Each Committee shall consist of:(1) The District Magistrate or any other person nominated by him, Chairperson. Provided any person nominated by the District Magistrate shall be a person who enjoys the powers of Executive Magistrate under the Code; (2) three persons residing in the district to be nominated by the District Magistrate, including the District Social Welfare Officer and one district level officer of the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement, Members;(3) five members from civil society to be nominated by the State Government, who shall be academicians, social workers or legal experts who have special knowledge, experience or expertise in relation to the superstitious practices and evil effects thereof, Members;Provided, at least two members nominated under this sub-section shall be women;Provided further, at least three non-official members nominated under this sub-section shall be persons belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

 

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Functions17. It shall be the duty of each Committee:(1) To undertake district-wide surveys to identify superstitious practices and make suitable recommendations to the State Government for their inclusion in the Schedule;(2) To hold awareness programmes and campaigns for people within the district regarding the ill-effects of superstitious practices, especially involving vulnerable sections of society;  (3) To receive individual complaints from any person or take suo motu cognizance of violations of this Act by any person or organisation and report them to the jurisdictional police for necessary action.      Explanation: This provision is without prejudice to the general powers and jurisdiction of the police to directly entertain such complaints. (4) To entertain and inquire into grievances from individuals and organisations that expose and fight superstitious practices and to extend appropriate protection under law and take all such necessary measures including issuing directions to the law enforcement agencies for this purpose. (5) To make enquiries into allegations of wilful negligence of the duties under this Act by public officials(6) To issue appropriate directions to any persons, authorities or agencies to carry out the purposes of this Act, especially to prevent the violation of the provisions of this Act. (7) To undertake comprehensive socioeconomic rehabilitation measures for the victims of superstitious practices.

 

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Powers and jurisdiction18. (1) Only in exercising the functions conferred on the Committee under this Act, the Committee shall have all the powers of a civil court, while trying a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) in respect of the following matters, namely:- (a) Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;(b) requiring the discovery and production of any document;(c) proof of facts by affidavits; and(d) issuing commissions for examination of facts and documents.(e) any other, as may be prescribed.(2) The jurisdiction of the Committee extends to the entire revenue district.Meetings and Procedures19. (1) The decision of the majority of the members of each Committee shall be considered as the decision of the Committee.  (2) Each Committee may constitute subcommittees for the purposes of specific and urgent action, which shall be later ratified by the Committee. (3) The quorum for the meetings of each Committee and the sub-Committee(s) shall be, as may be prescribed.(4) Each Committee may meet at such time and place as the Chairperson may decide Provided, it shall meet at least once every three months.  (5) The fees and allowances paid to the Chairperson and Members shall be such as may be prescribed(6) Each Committee shall have the power to specify, by regulations, the procedure for the discharge of its functions under the Act. (7) No act or proceedings of the Committee shall be questioned or invalidated merely on the ground of existence of any vacancy in, or defect in the constitution of the Committee.

 

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Chapter V: MiscellaneousApplication of other Laws20. The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of any other law for the time being in force.  Power to Make Rules21. (1) The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this Act.(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provisions, such Rules may provide for:(a) Contribution and disbursal of moneys under the Fund as per Section 8(2)(b) Salary, fees, allowances and conditions of service of the Chairperson and Members of the Authority and the Committee under Section 11(2) (c) The terms and conditions of office of office-bearers and other employees of the Authority under Section 13(2)(d) Quorum for meetings of the Committee under Section 19(3)(e) Fees and allowances to be paid to the Chairperson and Members of the Committee under Section 19(5)(3) Every rule made under this Act shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made before each House of the State Legislature while it is in session for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions and if, before the expiry of the session in which it is so laid or the session immediately following both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.

 

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Power to Make Regulations22. The Authority and Committee may issue regulations to give effect to the provisions of this Act and the Rules framed hereunder by the State Government. Power to Remove Difficulties23. (1) If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions of this Act, the State Government may, by order published in the Official Gazette, make such provisions not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, as may appear to it to be necessary for removing the difficulty:Provided, that no such order shall be made under this Section after the expiry of a period of two years from the commencement of this Act.(2) Every order made under this Section shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of the State Legislature.Savings24. All Rules, Regulations, orders, notifications, or circulars relating to matters provided for in this Act, which are in force on the date of commencement of this Act, shall continue to be in force to the extent that they are consistent with the provisions of this Act, unless superseded by any action taken or any Rule, Regulation, notification or order made under this Act.Schedule [Section 3]1. The following offences shall be cognizable: a.  (i) Sacrificing a human being for gain or for appeasing a deity   Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the punishment for the performance of human sacrifice shall be death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine (ii) Spreading belief in human sacrifice or persuading others to perform human sacrifice.b.  Attempting to cure illness or carry out supposed exorcism or bhutochhaatane using violent means.

 

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c.  (i) Carrying out aghori, siddubhukti or similar practices in violation of S. 297 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860;(ii)  forcing others to indulge in such practices; or(iii) using the threat of supposed powers gained from such practices to economically or sexually exploit persons.d.  Declaring possession by a purported divine or spiritual entity, and using such declaration to (i) promise remedies or benefits in exchange for consideration; or (ii) threaten divine displeasure or spiritual censure for personal gain.e.  Invoking black magic or performing maata, whether or not in exchange for consideration, that is intended to harm targeted third persons and which gravely threatens them.f.  Persuading, propagating or facilitating rituals that involve self-inflicted injuries such as hanging from a hook inserted into the body (sidi) or pulling a chariot by a hook inserted into the body.g.  Persuading, propagating or facilitating rituals involving harm inflicted on children in the name of curing them, such as throwing them on thorns or from heights.h.  Superstitious practices against women:(i) Forcing isolation, prohibiting re-entry into the village or facilitating segregation of menstruating or pregnant women (ii) Throwing coloured water on women from vulnerable sections of society, resulting in their humiliation or offending their human dignity, such as okuli(iii) Subjecting women to inhuman and humiliating practices such as parading them naked in the name of worship or otherwise, such as bettale seve(iv) Exposing women to sexual exploitation invoking supernatural means, with the promise of conferring social or personal benefits including pregnancy.i.  Forcing any person to carry on practices such as killing of an animal by biting its neck (gaavu), that cause harm to public health.j.  Facilitating made snana or similar practices that violate human dignity

 

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k.  Discrimination on the basis of caste or gender in the name of superstition(i)  Forcing any person belonging to vulnerable sections of society to carry out humiliating practices such as carrying footwear on his or her head (ii)  Carrying out practices such as panktibheda or segregation of people on the basis of caste while serving food2. The following offences shall be non-cognizablea.  Making harmful predictions that result in(i) stigmatisation or condemnation of any person on the basis of time or place of birth;(ii) performance of humiliating practices by victims in the belief that it will fulfil said predictions; or(iii) severe financial loss caused to victimsb.  Declaring the guilt or innocence of any person by subjecting them to physical or mental harm such as forcing him to hold a flame with bare hands.Statement of Objects and Reasons1. A disturbingly high number of superstitious practices which cause significant harm and exploitation of common people especially in vulnerable sections of society continue to be perpetuated across the state today. Practices such as aghori, made snana, bettale seve and other similar practices which are offensive to human dignity are widely prevalent. At the same time there are several forms of superstitious practices, both in urban and rural areas which result in severe financial exploitation and mental agony for victims. Such practices have no place in a civilised society governed by the rule of law. 2. The right to life with dignity is a fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India and reinforced in several judgments of the Supreme Court of India. The wide existence of such practices squarely infringes such right. Further, while all persons are entitled to the freedom of conscience or belief, certain superstitious practices negatively impact public order, morality and health. With several recent incidents of this nature coming to light, the specific criminalisation of such practices along with spreading awareness of the ill-effects of superstitious practices of this

 

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nature have become imperative. The Karnataka Prevention of Superstitious Practices Bill, 2013 seeks to achieve these objectives.3. Specifically, the Bill seeks to make the promotion, propagation or performance of certain superstitious practices which causes grave physical or mental harm to others, financially or sexually exploits them, or offends their basic human dignity, with a promise to cure them or provide a benefit or with a threat of adverse consequences, by invoking purported supernatural powers, a criminal offence. Stringent punishment to those guilty of such offences, it is believed, will ensure effective deterrence thereby preventing the recurrence of such practices, gradually leading to their eradication. 4. At the same time, it is essential that common people are educated on the evil effects of such practices, and when they do occur, have a forum to report such occurrences to. Thus the Bill seeks to set up the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Authority as the nodal state level authority responsible for ensuring overall implementation of the Act. The Authority is to be supplemented by Vigilance Committees on Superstitious Practices at the district level which can receive complaints, redress grievances, assist the jurisdictional police in investigation and prosecution, take suo motu action as appropriate and undertake educational and awareness campaigns sensitising people, especially in vulnerable sections of society, to the ill-effects of superstitious practices.5. The Bill would thus enable the development of the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform, a fundamental duty of every citizen under Article 51A(h) of the Constitution of India. At the same time by preventing the perpetuation of superstitious practices, it would allow them to lead a life of dignity, guaranteed under the Constitution.6. The Bill seeks to achieve the above objectives.

 

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  1. […] experts at NSLIU have produced a concept note and a draft bill. The draft bill details the structural aspects of the law and the concept note provides the […]

  2. India’s Hindu identity | nonsense girl said, on December 4, 2013 at 6:23 am

    […] are guaranteed fundamental rights under the Indian constitution. (Full text of the draft bill here: https://realitycheck.wordpress.com/karnataka-anti-superstitious-practices-bill-draft-2013-copy-in-te&#8230😉 […]

  3. Ramesh,c,s, said, on November 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

    This very indispensable now,in fact i wrote to c m by email


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